January Questions--and Answers

It's time again to answer a few questions. These are a few (not all) of the questions I saw on my January blogs. Thanks for reading and being so interested!


Will Stampin’ Up!—or its products—ever come to [insert the name of a country]?


Occasionally one of you will ask if we’re heading to another country. Right now, we operate in seven different countries—the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. I’d love to operate in as many countries as possible—in fact we have a couple of vision statements that talk about being all over the world. Right now, however, we have no plans to open any new markets, but no one knows what the future may hold, right?


Will you put the stencil demonstrators/projects that you did at Leadership online?


As a matter of fact, I just completed a video training that focuses on stenciling and how excited I am about this new product line. It’s not my entire leadership presentation, but it does include several aspects of it. Right now that training is scheduled to go online mid-March, so watch for it there.


Where did you get your blue strappy shoes? Who makes your Happy Shoes?


Aren’t they adorable? I’m glad you liked them too! They are made by Jeffrey Campbell of California, and I got them at Nordstrom. They were available in two colors: black and Taken with Teal. I almost bought the black, because it goes with everything, but I’m so glad I went with the fun color. I’ve had lots of fun coming up with different outfits that match!


Our Happy Shoes are made by Roxy, and there are two different kinds. One has kind of a foam bottom and costs a little less, and the style with the more solid bottom costs about $10 more. Shalae has one of each pair, and she says the one with the solid bottom is more comfortable!


How do you get everyone in your family to pose for photos? Do you have a “Mom” look or do you use bribery?


I laughed when I saw this question! I know exactly what you mean by the “Mom” look—I’ve used it many times, but not for picture taking. Our family just takes tons of photos, and everyone knows it and is used to it. A camera is part of every Gardner gathering.


As for the annual family portrait for the catalog, it’s just expected, and even the younger kids know it’s part of life. While we don’t use bribery (that’s illegal isn’t it?), we do believe in “positive reinforcement,” so on catalog picture day, white treats (white marshmallows, tic tacs, etc.) are part of the deal for the younger kids.


Why are the stampin’ supplies not included in the back of the new catalog?

I know some of you are disappointed in this decision. To be honest, I haven’t printed out the online list and stuck it in my stamp studio, and there have been several times when I’ve gone to the back of the catalog to check a supply, and been reminded that it wasn’t there—and I’ve been disappointed too! That said, if I have to choose between having the stampin’ supplies or more product, I’ll take the product any day! We can’t keep adding pages to the catalog, and we wanted to keep offering great new products, and something had to give. The stampin’ supplies was the best choice, although no one was excited about it.


The stampin’ supplies are available online, as I mentioned. I know a few of you don’t have ready Internet access, and if you can’t get to the library or an Internet café or something, my assistant offered to print the list for you and send it to you if you’ll just send her a self-addressed stamped envelope. Make sure it’s got the right amount of postage on it, please. (smile) Just send the envelope to Stampin’ Up!, Att: Stampin’ Supplies, 12907 South 3600 West, Riverton, UT 84065.


Can you introduce us to your family? You talk about them so often, and sometimes I get confused. . .

I’m assuming you’re talking about my immediate family, since I did a post about my extended family not too long ago. One of my first postings back on August 4 (2008) actually introduced the family a bit; click here to read that.


As long as we’re talking about family, there were a few other family questions that I’ll answer: Yes, Mom Heather died in December 2007; I can’t believe it’s been that long, and I still miss her every day! My dad’s name is Lynn—I’ve kind of decided not to include last names on my blog. I’m sure Dad wouldn’t mind, and I know you guys are all sane, reasonable people, but in this day and age, we just feel better not divulging everything. (smile)


Aunt Ruth is Sterling’s older sister, and while I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you knew her age, I don’t feel comfortable being the one to tell you! (smile) They have one other sister, Alice, who died a few years ago from cancer.


Several family members have worked for Stampin’ Up!, and I have a few aunts who are demonstrators. Mom Pat and Mom Heather both did various things. Almost all our girls have worked at Stampin’ Up!, and at some point in time, all our sons-in-law have been with us too. As life circumstances (babies, retirement, graduation, etc.) have changed, so have their jobs, and they’ve come and gone. Many of my family have been integrally involved with Stampin’ Up! for many years, so I love that they can contribute in any way.


Where does your new artwork/designs/products come from? (This is a simplified version of several questions concerning our artwork.)


We hear often that our artwork is one of the things we are most known for, and I have to admit, I think it’s pretty fabulous. We have numerous illustrators and designers who create our artwork for stamp sets and other products, based on their own ideas as well as suggestions from others. (Demonstrators and customers often share ideas for new images!)


We have a product development team that works on new products, including our In Color offering. They base their color selection on research and study; if you know much about color, you are probably aware that there are “hot” colors every season, and often we take those colors into consideration as well. We know you want markers, and we try to give you what you want whenever we can. . . .


How do you decide when to retire an item?


Retiring a product, whether it’s a stamp set or an accessory, is based on numerous factors, including how long the product has been around, how timely is still is, and what the sales numbers are on it.


Do you have a special celebration when a new catalog comes out? How far ahead do you work on the catalog?


I lumped these two together, because they’re actually a little bit related. We don’t have company-wide celebrations when new catalogs are released, and one of the reasons is that we’re already months into development of the new catalog, and it almost seems anticlimactic. Which doesn’t mean we’re not thrilled! Like you, a new catalog is a high point in our year, and we love it when the new catalogs are released, but we really are focusing on what’s coming up next!


Another reason we don’t have celebrations is because the catalog is a huge accomplishment for a couple of our departments, but each of our departments have projects that are just as significant, just as intense. Although they may not impact your world as much as the catalog, they are equally important for us to succeed. If we had a celebration at the conclusion of each important project being completed, we’d be having way too many parties!


How do you collage your photos on the blog?


To tell the honest truth, I don’t do the collages. I take the photos and then forward them to my assistant, who actually creates the visuals. She uses Picasa, which is a software that is available for download (free!) online. I don’t know how to use all the bells and whistles yet, but I’ve got that one basic tool (“Create collage”) down pat!


Why don’t you do giveaways like other blogs?


Well, I thought I did! I do give a free stamp set to every winner of the monthly SoShelli.com Creative Challenge. I’m guessing you’re referring to random giveaways, and you’re right—I don’t do that. I’ll think about it, OK?


Also, just as a side note, if you do submit a project for the creative challenge, please make sure your contact information (e-mail address) is included. One of the winners last month didn’t have that included, so I haven’t been able to contact her. If you’re reading this (Jennifer Picard), please comment on this blog with your e-mail address so I can send your free stamp set to you!


What was the game you played at Grandpa’s 95th birthday?


One of our cousins had gathered a lot of information about all of us and then written it down, and we had to go around and find out who had done certain things, like who had lived for several years in another country, and things like that. They had also included questions about Grandpa and Grandma, like the name of the café they ran in Bicknell, Utah, and fun little tidbits like that. We had to find out those answers by asking each other. It really was a great ice-breaker!


Just a note: Several of you have asked questions about the history of Stampin’ Up!, or the Stampin’ Up! story. I’m working on a posting (probably it will be several postings) about that, so watch for more information about that in the near future.

And thanks for the comments about your favorite products from CHA. I made a list of them, believe me! I love to hear what you like and what’s catching your attention! Thanks for the feedback.